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Health budget increase

A recent 8-0 vote from the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors sent a requested increase of nearly $3,000 to the Prince Edward County Health Department to address growing needs, and the increased contribution is expected to provide increased services for citizens.

This contribution from the county is part of a larger state total increase.

“The state has provided additional funding to our health department based on various items,” Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said during the board’s regular December meeting.

Wade Bartlett

The board meeting packet summary on the issue of health department funding stated, “The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors has received a request from the director of the Piedmont Regional Health District for an increase in funding of $2,902.62 for 2020 from Prince Edward County. This is the county’s portion of the total increase of $53,782 for the Prince Edward County Health Department. The attached letter outlines the reasons for the funding increase.”

Bartlett also referenced the letter that was included in the board meeting packet. The letter was from Dr. H. Robert Nash, director of the Piedmont Health District and of the Prince Edward County Health Department.

Nash, writing in his role as the Piedmont Health District director, opened the letter by telling Bartlett that the “health department has designated a revenue refund for your county from fiscal year 2019.”

The summary in the board meeting packet alluded to this when it cited, “The county has received a refund of $6,397 from the commonwealth due to savings in expenditures from the health department in last year’s budget. This refund will more than cover the increased cost.”

In his letter, Nash continued by writing, “In our projected budget for fiscal year 2020, however, we are showing a modest but significant increase in our needed commitments. We are, therefore, asking for your consideration for an increase in your county’s contribution in the amount of $2,902.62 for 2020. This increase contribution would represent a proportional increase to match the state’s increase in supporting revenue for ongoing operations for 2020.

“Some of the increases have been realized by increased emergency management operations, increased infectious disease outbreaks and investigations, increased immunization activities, increased costs associated with improved telecommunications and internet services, increased costs associated with maternal and infant care, nutrition, education and training, and our increased activities to fight the ongoing opioid crisis, which affects all of our counties,” he continued.

The board meeting packet’s issue summary referenced most of these items when it noted that they provide increased services for the county’s citizens and that the formula requires to contribute only approximately 5% of the additional funding of $53,782.

Since the revenue refund that the county received equaled $6,397, granting the $2,903 requested increase still leaves the county with a savings of $3,494 that is being placed in the general fund balance.